Signs and Signals

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Using Hand Signals

3 Second Stop

Hand signals are something most of us learned when we first got our license and then didn’t think about too much afterwards. However, I do occasionally see a bicyclist sharing the road with me, using hand signals, so I thought it was a good idea to familiarize myself with them once again. Hand signals are also good to know in case your car’s blinkers are ever not working.

Left Turns: Driver’s left arm is extended straight out of the driver’s side window.

Right Turns: Driver’s left arm stretched out of the driver’s side window and bent upward at the elbow, with hand and fingers pointed toward the sky. (It should be noted that bicyclists may indicate a right turn by extending their right arm straight out to the right side of the bicycle.)

Slow or Stop: Driver’s left arm stretched out of the driver’s side window and bent downward at the elbow, with hand and fingers pointed toward the road.

Safety for Two Wheels

Motorcycle & Bicycle Awareness

May kicks off both Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month & Bicycle Safety Month. With only two wheels, motorcycles and bicycles are less stable and require the rider to have great handling ability. They are much smaller and harder to see than other vehicles on the road. Consequently, motorcycles and bicycles are more easily hidden or missed by other drivers. Also, they don’t have the same protection as an automobile driver, making any type of collision or wipeout serious or fatal.

What you may not know is bicyclists and motorcyclists have the same right to ride on the road as other vehicles. Furthermore, they are subject to the majority of laws that all other drivers are required to follow. As a driver, don’t forget to always check your blind spots every time you change lanes or prepare to make turn. Remember to consider a bicycle lane the same as other traffic lanes. Also, do not try to pass a bicyclist until it is safe to do so allowing ample room between your vehicle and the rider.

As a motorist sharing the road with others, it’s crucial your defensive driving strategies include being aware of other types of vehicles in your driving environment.

New Law Alert

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Three Feet for Safety Act

sharetheroad3 Second StopAs of September 16, 2014, the Three Feet for Safety Act (California Vehicle Code 21760) went into effect. This law concerns motorists sharing the road with bicyclists. If you are in a motor vehicle traveling the same direction as a bicyclist, you may not pass the bicyclist “at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.” If it is not safe to pass a bicyclist due to the traffic or road conditions, be sure to slow down and follow at a safe distance until you are able to safely pass them. If you fail to follow this new law, you could be fined $35; and if a collision occurs “causing bodily injury to the operator of the bicycle” you could be fined $220.

Give Big Rigs Their Due

Share the Road

share the roadSemitrailers operate a little differently than your car, so let’s take a moment for a few friendly reminders on sharing the road with large trucks.

Give them extra space in several ways. Don’t cut in front of a large truck. They are heavier and take longer to stop than the average car. You should see the front of the truck in your rearview mirror before moving into the lane. Also, when following a trailer truck the truck’s size can block your view; increase your following distance so that you have more reaction time and room to brake.

Stay out of the truck’s blind spots. Large trucks have large blind spots on all sides. If you can’t see the driver in truck’s side mirror, then the truck driver can’t see you. If you are going to pass a semi, do so quickly and on the left side. Lingering in a truck’s blind spot is dangerous.

Pay close attention to a trucks turn signals. Be aware that rigs need extra room to maneuver turns. They tend to swing wide to execute right turns. Don’t squeeze between the curb and the truck; you could end up getting crunched.

Keep these tips in mind next time you are on the road and remember in a collision with a big rig you’ll find you are the loser.